Illuminating the Archive of Arthur Griffin: Photographs 1935 – 1955 A series in six parts by Madison Marone, Exhibitions Assistant, Griffin Museum of Photography
Arthur Griffin is remembered as a successful photographer for the Boston Globe and a New England photojournalist for Life and Time magazines. Griffin was a pioneer in the use of color film, providing the first color photos to appear in the Saturday Evening Post. His work captures the essence and vibrancy of mid-20th century New England.https://griffinmuseum.org/wp-admin/edit.php?post_type=page
Griffin’s legacy lives on through the Griffin Museum of Photography. As an Exhibitions Assistant at the museum, I’ve created this series to highlight and provide context for his work so viewers may experience it in new and exciting ways. Illuminating the Archive of Arthur Griffin: Photographs 1935-1955, looks at New England’s cultural heritage, traditions, and aesthetic through the lens of Griffin’s lesser-known work. This six-part exhibition explores how photography enhances our relationship with and understanding of the past. Each exhibit features historical, sociological, and creative interpretations of photographs from the museum’s collection.
opens in a new windowPart I – Winter Traditions – “The Griffin is the embodiment of founder Arthur Griffin’s passion — to promote an appreciation of photographic art and a broader understanding of its visual, emotional, and social impact. Arthur’s goal was to share with visitors his enthusiasm for a medium that is diverse, imaginative, and informative.” -The Griffin Museum of Photography
opens in a new windowPart II – The Art of Photojournalism – “When looking at different photographers who have all these different ways of doing it, you can see how they exist in the world. You get a little sense of who they are and how they’re thinking. What’s going on in this person’s head? I want to know more.” Emily Kask, photojournalist
opens in a new windowPart III – Boston Arts & Entertainment – This installment focuses on Boston’s arts and entertainment sector documented through Griffin’s photos. It is divided into three sections: music, fine arts, and theater. In the first section, we will be exploring the history of the two major orchestras in Boston: the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Pops. The second section covers the public’s interaction with the Museum of Fine Arts. The final section looks at the theater and live performances throughout the city. I’ve included video clips throughout this exhibit to provide additional context and bring each section to life.
opens in a new windowPart IV – New England & the Sea – “From the arrival of the Pilgrims in Plymouth in 1620 to the present, the coasts of New England have been the site of defensive forts and the home base for commerce, fishing, whaling, and shipbuilding industries. Maritime history and industry are on display in every state.” -Visit New England
opens in a new windowPart V – Landscape Photography – “Use a little imagination and create something that will not be just a record of a beautiful place. The extra effort and thought will result in something with some of you in it. Something you and only you created.” -Arthur Griffin
opens in a new windowPart VI – Celebrating Summer – “I know New England like the feel of my camera. I have been over her highways and up the back of dirt roads, cow paths and country lanes, and have walked the shores of many harbors, inlets and creeks… My ambition, simply stated, has been to bring happiness through my pictures, to feel that the world was a bit better off for my having done what I did.” -Arthur Griffin
Special thanks to the Boston Public Library for digitizing a large portion of the Arthur Griffin Archive so it may be accessible to the public. If you would like to view more photos and library material, visit the opens in a new windowBoston Public Library for the Digital Commonwealth and the opens in a new windowDigital Public Library of America.
Madison Marone is an Exhibition Assistant at the Griffin Museum of Photography and a graduate student pursuing her MSc in museum studies at the University of Glasgow. She holds a BA in film studies and sociology from the University of Vermont. Her interests include early to mid-20th-century art history, film theory, and exhibit design.
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